I have been a resident of Palo Alto my entire life. As a child, my parents exposed me to the excitement and wonder of dining out in a restaurant. It started with Howard Johnson's and evolved to Stickney's (Town & Country), Prime Rib Inn (El Camino) and countless others. As an adult, I am a bonafide "foodie." Most of the entertainment that my husband and I spend our money on is dining out in restaurants.
COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on many industries, but especially the restaurant industry. Small local restaurants are the lifeblood of our communities. They not only employ cooks, dishwashers, bartenders and servers, they also support local farmers, meat and poultry distributors and winemakers. Our city and others cannot afford to lose our restaurants, and the reduction in business due to the shelter-in-place orders is making that a serious possibility. This is the time for the city to work with restaurateurs to consider creative solutions that will help them stay in business. It is very likely that we will have to practice physical distancing for quite some time and restaurants will be unable to get back on their feet with the reduction of interior tables.
I have recently learned of many cities working to temporarily close certain streets to enable restaurants to create outdoor dining plazas. Just last week, the city of Berkeley announced that it would be moving forward with this plan in the near future. If this were to be implemented in Palo Alto, not only would it help in keeping many restaurants open, it also would create a new dining dynamic and a true sense of community as we come together to support local businesses.
Dennis Drive, Palo Alto
Monuments over services
The recent infrastructure spending decisions made by our city budget developers should be putting needs over wants. Safety should be Palo Alto's top concern before addressing lesser issues. To cut police staff and ambulance/EMT services as well as the Baylands flood-control levee is a very unwise move. All of us want to have a quick and qualified response when we have a personal emergency and need an ambulance/EMT or police. Anyone living near Adobe, Barron or Matadero creeks also needs added protection for bay surge flooding. Highway 101 would be flooded as well. So even if you don't live near these creeks, you will be affected. With each rainy season and passing year, the reality of these floods gets closer.
As far as libraries are concerned, we could manage with cutting days and hours of service and the number of branches open. We can do most of our library business online during the remaining times. I love to read as do most of our citizens: I just don't want to be reading my book as I paddle my canoe over our neighborhood streets.
It's simple. It's the difference between feel-good needs and the ones that keep us up at night.
Let your council know what you think!
S. Lou Grimsrud
Bibbits Drive, Palo Alto
Why, why, why does the city of Palo Alto not pause the development of the $150-million police "palace" project? My simple proposal comfortably satisfies the need for balancing the nearly $40-million budget deficit for Fiscal Year 2020-2021. My plan allows our city to carry on as it always has been.
Palo Alto citizens already voted no for spending our city money for this construction. Citizens rebuked taxing for this project, yet the plans went forward against our support. What happened to open government for and by the people?
The budget for the brand-new police station continues to compromise city services, with the costs continuing to rise, now being twice the original proposal. This expense is a thorn in our side, including the latest purchase of several pieces of modern art, for $100,000 a pop. We don't need the largest police station in the San Francisco Bay Area. Our crimes are mostly white-collar.
Palo Altans need to be alerted that the city is hiding this ever-increasing $150-million budget drain. The city is using a ruse to fool us into believing the Palo Alto Police Department's finances are in check. They're cutting a few positions from staffing quota, when PAPD hasn't met staffing quota in years, in an attempt to redirect our attention away from the $150 million being spent against citizen vote.
Voters deserve to be counted!
Guinda Street, Palo Alto
Alison Cormack's piece on the Palo Alto city budget is both an excellent and a most useful tutorial. I am grateful to have it. She laid out the issues as if we readers were encountering it all for the first time and it was so very helpful.
Maybell Way, Palo Alto
This story contains 806 words.
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